For just about everyone, money’s tight. Gas prices stay high, impacting everything you buy. Though the economy seems to be improving, many people find their wallet is struggling to play catch up. It’s important to save every penny you can, everywhere you can.
So, have you taken a look at your car insurance rates lately? Most experts agree that you should shop around every few years. Customer loyalty is great, and if you’re happy with your current provider, you should stay put. However, it is still a good idea to look around to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. If you find you are being overcharged, call your agent or ask for the customer retention department and use the information you found to make a deal.
When you begin to shop, be informed. You should know about several things that affect your insurance rates. Insurance companies use very complicated mathematical formulas to determine rates; and though you can often access them, they are difficult to understand. Several things that will raise or lower your rates are largely beyond your control, such as your age and gender, your geographical area, and the weather in recent years. What you drive, how likely it is to be stolen, how large it is, how powerful the engine, and how much it is worth influence how much you will pay. Now may not be the time to worry about this, but the next time you’re car shopping, it is worth a thought. What you can control is much more important. The formula is fairly simple: safe driving is rewarded. Accidents and tickets will raise your rate, though companies vary regarding whether one ticket or one accident will make a difference. Safety features, including theft protection on your vehicle, should cause you to be eligible for discounted rates; know your car and ask your agent or company to go through a checklist of what will grant you cheaper rates.
Discounts can also come from unexpected places. Make sure your agent knows if you have a garage, if your commute is short or if you telecommute, and if you’re a homeowner. Other possible discounts include your place of employment, a college education, or obtaining insurance for your home though the same company.
When it is time to make your decision, consider the reputation of the company, Better Business Bureau Ratings, and word of mouth. Also be sure to consider if they would raise those initial rates in response to one minor accident. You want reduced rates, but not at the risk of poor coverage or unstable rates. Take your time and ask a lot of questions. Get a variety of quotes, then make your decision about which company suits your needs best. You’ll be on the road to easing your budget and your mind!